Missouri’s senior senator blasted Facebook’s chief executive officer during an emotional Senate hearing this week in Washington, a hearing that led to an apology from the powerful CEO.
The Senate hearing involved cyberbullying and other child safety social media issues. U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, calling for him to apologize to family members in the audience. The family members carried signs of loved ones they say died because of social media.
“Let me ask you this: there’s families of victims here today. Have you apologized to the victims?
“I …,” Zuckerberg responded.
“Would you like to do so now, they’re here you’re on national television. Would you like now to apologize to the victims who have been harmed by your products. Show him the pictures (speaking to audience members): would you like to apologize for what you’ve done to these good people?” Hawley asked him.
“I’m sorry for everything that you’ve all gone through. It’s terrible, no one should have to go through the things that your families have suffered,” Zuckerberg stood up and turned to family members behind him, speaking directly to them.
Mr. Zuckerberg told the audience that Facebook has invested a lot of money “and are going to continue doing industry-leading efforts to make sure no one has to go through the types of things that your families had to suffer.”
Senator Hawley told Zuckerberg that “his product is killing people.” As Zuckerberg spoke, crowds of photographers walked up to the witness table to get photos of the apology. Their photos show family members holding signs of loved ones, so Zuckerberg could see them. The parents were part of a group called “Parents for Safe Online Spaces.”
Senator Hawley is a former Missouri attorney general. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018, unseating incumbent Claire McCaskill (D) that year. He’s seeking re-election this fall.